As much documentation as there is on the history and lore of hip-hop, it’s incredible that new gems are still being unearthed all the time. On Uproxx’s new show, People’s Party With Talib Kweli, Southern rap legend Bun B does just that, relating an insightful and funny tale of the first time he smoked with The Notorious B.I.G., which reveals certain aspects of Biggie’s character and adds even more detail to the overall picture of hip-hop’s intricate history.
Bun’s story takes place more than 20 years ago, but the UGK rapper’s reflections make it seem as clear as if it had happened yesterday. He relays the surprise he felt that Biggie was aware of UGK’s music at a time long before the Port Arthur, Texas denizens had blown up on a mainstream level with their appearance on Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’.” Biggie knew “Pocket Full Of Stones,” which just highlights how truly tapped-in he was as a music listener, not just a rapper.
As the story unfolds, Bun reveals how the situation could have turned awkward. “He’s a big dude,” Bun says. “So I offered him the passenger seat… He was like, ‘No, I’m a chill in the back.'” He says Biggie also made sure to leave the door open, even though the three rappers were planning on hotboxing the car. “It wasn’t until later that I realized that he didn’t wanna sit in the front seat because he didn’t want anyone sitting behind him and he didn’t want the door closed in case he needed to bounce, ’cause he didn’t know us like that.”
That explanation illuminates how aware Biggie was of not just his status as a star, but how that status could put him into some tight spots. The mafioso persona he threw on when rhyming on Ready To Die and Life After Death may have been an exaggeration of his actual street experience but the Godfather-like paranoia of a criminal kingpin still hovered around him like the smoke from the blunts he and UGK smoked that night. Unfortunately, that awareness wasn’t enough to prevent him from becoming one of rap music’s greatest martyrs, but Bun’s story is an insightful addition to the profile of Biggie as a man and as a superstar MC.
Talib Kweli, his guest host Jasmin Leigh, and his guests will share plenty more stories like this one in each episode of People’s Party With Talib Kweli, debuting June 9 on Uproxx Video and all major streaming platforms. You can stay up-to-date by following @UPROXX on Instagram and Twitter.